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AMG Is Gunning for an Electric BMW XM Rival: Report

Bring on the battle of the German super SUVs.

byAdam Ismail|
Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 S 4MATIC+ SUV
Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 S 4MATIC+ SUV. Mercedes-Benz


Flagship super SUVs are only ever getting more popular amongst luxury brands, and Friday we learned that Mercedes-AMG will pull a page from its foremost rival's playbook and introduce its own in two years' time. Whatever this behemoth is called, it'll target the BMW XM and Porsche's electric three-row SUV, codenamed K1. But like the K1, and unlike the XM, it'll be all-electric.

The comparison to BMW's controversial M car is warranted because, as Autocar reports, this unnamed SUV won't be based on an existing Mercedes-Benz model, like all of the sub-brand's hot SUVs have been to date. It will be entirely its own thing, with dimensions comparable to the XM. The Bimmer crushes the scales at more than 6,000 pounds, so it's fortunate, then, that AMG is said to be targeting 1,000 brake horsepower (986 hp) to ensure it moves like it weighs a whole lot less.

Mercedes-AMG GLE 53 4MATIC+ Coupe, at left, and GLE 63 S 4MATIC+ SUV. Mercedes-Benz

Key to that power delivery will be axial flux electric motors, like those on mild-hybrid supercars like the Ferrari 296 GTB and McLaren Artura. Both employ motors from a company called YASA, a pioneer in commercializing the technology, and wouldn't you know YASA was acquired by Merc three years ago. In whatever sense the Silver Arrows super SUV uses them, you can be sure it'll be a cutting-edge implementation. Axial flux motors are especially power dense for their size—YASA says one of its 52-lb motors can churn up to 473 hp and 590 lb-ft of torque—and they'll further benefit from the 800-volt architecture built into the company's next-gen AMG.EA platform.

Toss in four-wheel steering and state-of-the-art torque vectoring, and it's quite obvious why Mercedes is said to believe in the project's potential. And here's my potentially controversial take—so do I, provided the final product matches the on-paper premise.

Does the world need another six-figure SUV that can dance on the track? Of course not, but whereas I might've rolled my eyes at such a proposition a few weeks ago, I recently sampled a BMW X5 M Competition for a week. I hesitate to give too much away because a review is coming, but listen—these huge people-movers and grocery-getters with huge power will absolutely surprise you.

You expect them to lumber and roll, to overwhelm them the moment you ask for more agility than they're primed to give. At least in the X5 M's case, it simply doesn't happen. They're legitimate supercars, and if I'm saying that about a "traditional" ICE vehicle like the twin-turbo V8-powered Bimmer, then I expect to be utterly baffled by whatever Merc ends up bringing to market, with instant torque and 60% more power.

So yeah, let's see what they've got. So long as the SUVs don't entirely replace sleeker two- and four-door options with their lower centers of gravity, I won't mind. The more AMGs, the merrier.

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